Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Memorabilia 2.0

I never get tired of reading some of this book. And the funny thing is the person stubbornly insisting that it can get published is the person beating me up in the scene below. Can it get published?
You be the judge.

Dear editors,
Please accept my submission to your “undiscovered literary genius” category. Memorabilia is a novel length obituary to nostalgic compulsions, pop music trivia and the minutia of Boston Red Sox history. It’s my first novel and if it isn’t published soon it will be my last novel, which will mean my own obituary will read something like, “Oggy Bleacher, an unmarried general laborer, was also an unpublished author when he passed away, kind of like that crazy uncle your father didn’t like talking about…” I hope we agree how unpleasant that sounds. You have the power to change my obituary!
Set in 1991, Memorabilia follows the fixated pleasures and pains of Oggy Bleacher as he attempts to reverse history through delusional stubbornness to enable the 1986 Red Sox win the World Series. Oggy takes the old saying, “If you put your mind to it then you can accomplish anything” and totally disproves it. At the end of Memorabilia the reader will say, “No, there are some things you can’t do no matter how hard you try.” Part mystery, part comedy and part filler stolen from obscure Herman Hesse novels, Memorabilia is a permanent tattoo that keeps bleeding through the tattoos you get to cover it up. The original title was You Broke My Heart You Worthless Motherfucking Losers, but my friends recommended I shorten it. What’s your opinion?


“Did you go in my room, nut bag?”
This could only be my brother addressing me with one of his many inventive titles. I wheeled around quickly in case he was already charging in to give me a beating. Thankfully, I hadn't decided to go into his room to record “Xanadu”. See how treacherous expanding your music library was in 1980?
“No,” I moaned, “You told me not to go in your room, so I didn't do it. I'm innocent. Please don’t hurt me.”
I instantly wished I had taken a different approach. My earnestness was too obvious. He would know I had read one of his Fantastic Four comics.
“So what did you take, Queer boy?” he asked as he smacked his fist into his palm. “Tell me now and I won't beat you up too bad.”
“I didn't. I didn't take anything. Dad!” I called to my father just to be safe, maybe get him moving in my direction before the bloodshed began. “I'm not lying. I don't want another beating. Please, Brooks.”
Again, this was too obvious. No one telling the truth would ever say, “I'm not lying.”
Brooklyn was apparently feeling benevolent because he paused and said, “If I find something is missing then I will beat you down. I told you before, Ogden. You will be beaten until you submit. I might even take your hat.”
At the threat of losing my hat I placed my senses on high alert. Few things upset me more than being separated from my hat.
“Naw!” I said as I leaned away from Brooklyn. “I was just sitting in here waiting to record Xanadu off the radio. That's all. Honest.”
“Ha! That’s your first lie. You’re sitting here listening to that fag Billy Joel. And if you’re listening to a fag then that means you are a fag.”
“Billy Joel is a wicked awesome singah.”
“You act like you’ve never heard of Black Sabbath. That is just more proof that you are fag of monumental proportions.”
“B-B-Black Sabbath?” I whispered. “Dad told you not to listen to Black Sabbath.”
“Well, Dad told you to stop being an idiot, so that makes two of us who don’t do as we’re told.”
“But Black Sabbath is evil.”
“No. Billy Joel is evil. Ozzy Osbourne is the God of Rock. You would know that if you stopped listening to that junk.” Brooklyn examined the album cover. “Glass Houses?” he sneered. “That pussy never took a chance in his whole life. Now, KISS knows how to rock. Ace Freely…hey, is that an Air Supply record? I’m going to kick your ass if you have an Air Supply record.”
I tried to hide my Air Supply record. My mother had bought the record for me at a Harvard Square thrift store and I didn’t want Brooklyn destroying it. And I didn’t even want to think about what would happen if he saw John Denver’s Greatest Hits.
“Wait! Please! I never went in your room, Brooks. Anyway, you're in my room.”
This seemed like a perfectly logical argument. If he could come in my room then why was I not allowed in his room? Why indeed?
Brooklyn paused and crossed his arms.
“Because I'm older and you're weak. Ha! What? Did you say something, Goober?”
Brooklyn lunged at me. I instinctively fell back to protect my hat and accidentally hit the turntable. The needle skipped to “It's Still Rock and Roll to Me” scratching the vinyl with an ugly synthetic tearing sound that was still about three years from becoming popular among Rap artists. I gasped.
“No! You butt dog. You scratched it. It's mine and you ruined it.”
Brooklyn raised his arms up in triumph.
“That'll teach you not to go in my room, you Troll. I guess Billy Joel isn’t so cool anymore. Too bad.”
I'd have a bruise where I hit the turntable. My Billy Joel record was precious to me and now it was ruined. All because of Brooklyn.
“I hate you. I hate you so much,” I said as my chin began to wobble. “You're...you're evil! You're an evil person. Get out!”
Instead of leaving, Brooklyn jumped on me and wrestled me onto my back. I tried to bite his arms but he was too strong and my strength was quickly spent. He straddled my ribcage, taking the breath out of me, and took my right hand and punched my face with it.
“Stop!” I gasped. “You’re killing me.”
“I’ll stop when you say Billy Joel is a fag.”
“No!” I cried. “Billy Joel is wicked awesome!”
“Say it! Say, ‘Billy Joel is a fag.’ Then I’ll leave.”
Brooklyn punched me in the face again with my own fist. I thrust my knee into his back and he acted like this was an unforgivable breach of the peace.
“Now you’re asking for it. Now you fahked up! And I’m gonna make you pay!”
Brooklyn forced both my arms into a flurry of face punches that left me delirious.
“Please.” I moaned. “No more!”
“Say ‘Billy Joel is a fag.’ I’m serious, Oggy. I will beat you all day long.” He bounced on my rib cage so I wanted to vomit. He bounced until I cried.
“Alright. Billy Joel is a fag.” I was so tired my words were slurred. "You're hurting me."
“And he sucks cahk,” Brooklyn continued.
“And he sucks cahk.”
“And he can’t sing.”
“And he can’t sing. Come on!”
“And if I go in Brooklyn’s room I’m dead meat.”
“And if I go in Brooklyn’s room then I’m dead meat,” I repeated and coughed up some phlegm.
Brooklyn gave me one more punch to the ear that made me squeal in pain before getting off me. He turned around and as he was leaving he casually picked up a stack of loose baseball cards off my Red Sox altar. He looked at them with feigned interest and then tossed them on the ground like they were trash. I was breathless from the beating and stared in horror as the cards tumbled into a disorganized pile. I wiped my running nose on my Red Sox stained sweatshirt as tears fell from my brown eyes.
“No! Dad! Brooklyn's being evil again; he threw my cards on the ground after I just put 'em in order. And he threatened to take my hat! He’s listening to Black Sabbath again too.”
My father was presumably in his room and didn't have a ready response to this crisis. Brooklyn pointed his finger at me and hissed, “You watch your mouth or the beating you just got will seem like a present from Grandma.”
He pounded his fist into his palm again. I was helpless and crying as I tried to gather the cards up without bending any corners. A bent corner was the difference between a “Mint” condition card and an “Excellent” condition card. I picked up a card and showed it to him as I cried, “When Julio Valdez is worth a million dollars I'm gonna make you pay for wrecking his card. You'll pay for being evil!”
Julio Valdez was a switch-hitting prospect for the Red Sox who had shown great talent at shortstop. His card was one of those now excluded from the Mint condition because of a bent corner.
“Look what you did!” I said as I held up the card as evidence of Brooklyn's evil. “I hate you! Get out! This is my room. Now get out!”

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Creative Commons License
Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.